Rants and Raves

Some Book Updates

Here are some titles I’ve gone through since my last update. I’m still doing my alternating cycles of non-fiction then a detective/pulp or other fiction.

A History of America in Ten StrikesA History of America in Ten Strikes by Erik Loomis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

good history and overview- shows impact right up to today

A good one that turned out to be timely as we are now at Labor Day weekend.

I read this next one a few months ago.

How to Be an AntiracistHow to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A lot to digest. And a lot of homework for me to be a better ally and an antiracist



A popular and timely book: (well, it shouldn’t need to be timely, but it is). Well-written and thought-provoking.



And here are some of the mysteries:

Devil in a Blue Dress (Easy Rawlins, #1)Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars





I’ve read other Mosley books, but not any of the Easy Rollins series. They were in my “to read” list after watching Luke Cage when it came out on Netflix and they dropped so many interesting titles in references on the show.

A Red Death (Easy Rawlins #2)A Red Death by Walter Mosley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars



Still engaging with the characters.

Lucky at CardsLucky at Cards by Sheldon Lord
My rating: 4 of 5 stars




I think this one was a Lawrence Block title and I breezed through it. Pretty fun pulp. Looking forward to his Scudder series at some point.

And another recommended read:

What I Talk About When I Talk About RunningWhat I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami
My rating: 5 of 5 stars



Alone : The Classic Polar Adventure – *****

Alone: The Classic Polar Adventure

Alone: The Classic Polar Adventure by Richard Evelyn Byrd

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A relatively quick read and very interesting even though I was worried I wouldn’t like the book’s story (it was a gift). The afterword was a welcome addition which helps provide some historical context and insight after the tale had ended.

I think it was interesting timing that I read this given what is going on in the world right now with Covid-19. In particular, this account of the author being alone in the Antarctic had a few passages that seemed very relevant to today.

eg: being solo and trapped inside and keeping to a schedule -the author was to be taking weather readings at regular times and had to maintain his hut/base- extreme WFH? Even Scott Kelly (astronaut) wrote about this recently in the NY Times.

Another example was a passage about a previous expedition with a healthy crew in isolation, but one day they opened a crate of old clothes and all of them got sick.


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Zero Cool – ****

Another pulp romp. A dangerous dame in Spain. A doctor in over his head. Treasure and treachery…

Turns out this was written by Michael Crichton. I didn’t know Michael Crichton wrote pulp under a pseudonym. It doesn’t surprise me, but I didn’t know.

Decent fun.

So Nude, So Dead – ***

So Nude, So DeadSo Nude, So Dead by Ed McBain
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Every time I finish a Hard Case Crime book I wonder how and when I got in to pulp. I guess it’s officially my guilty pleasure. I have a bunch of them on my e-reader and if I’m on the bus and can’t balance my paper book then I tend to churn through these. Can I recommend them all? Probably not- the women are usually props- sometimes they’re the main character but not all the time. And then there’s the race angle from the period. That said – jazz, drugs, murder, dames, revenge… what’s not to like with that?

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Closing out the 2019 Books

Radical Candor – ****

Had heard about this book for a while but when I got promoted a direct report recommended that I read it. There’s some decent advice in here.

So Good They Can’t Ignore You – ***

There were some interesting chapters and studies in there, but it felt like a really long blog post at times instead of a full book. I’m not sure why I get that vibe, but it stuck with me.

Slow Horses – ***

I enjoyed this quite a bit. The author has published more now, so there’s a series. I may try the second one soon.

My Struggle: Book 1 – ****

Ooof- pretty serious, but well written. I’m not sure I’ll read more in the series unless friends recommend particular volumes.

Anansi Boys – ****

Another enjoyable read. This may have been my first Gaiman novel to read (can that be right?).